Adventures in Eating & Cooking

Legit Japanese Food in a Cart!

While I was waiting at the Drexel’s Hagerty Library for the Dragon Shuttle to take me to my new work at Hahnemann Hospital, I noticed a series of three food trucks. Feeling kind of hungry at the time, I decided to explore the choices. There was a Philly-American cart which served hoagies (Philly language for sandwiches) and steaks, a breakfast-crepe cart (I really want to try this out next time), and astonishingly a Japanese food cart: Ton-Ton!

Ton-Ton Food Truck

Ton-Ton Food Truck

Japanese food??! I’ve been craving that since I left NYC, so I had to take a closer look. I was happy to see on their menu an abridged list of my favorites from Cafe Zaiya at good prices.

Ton-Ton Menu

Ton-Ton Menu

Missing the flavor of home-style Westernized Japanese dishes, I went straight for the hamburg bento. The nice blond girl in the cart told me I could also add curry at no extra cost!! JAPANESE CURRY!! That’s only my most favorite type of curry out of all the other bajillion types of curry.

I watched as the girl added Japanese-style vinaigrette to the side salad, and a Japanese woman named Keiko (or at least that’s what the other customer called her) next to her dice up some tamago (Japanese omelet).

When it was finished, I excitedly hurried over to the bus stop, only to find that I had missed my bus… So I sat on the curb and opened my little take-out box. The contents totally made up for my missed bus. Not only was there a nice hamburg patty topped with hearty curry on rice, but a cup of fresh salad, a piece of tamago, and an adorable little octopus sausage (octopus-shaped sausage characteristic of the bentos Japanese mothers make for their kids).

Hamburg Steak Bento

Hamburg Steak Bento

After picking off all the onions with my chopsticks (yes I dislike onions), I bit into the hamburg. It was delicious with a home-cooked lightly grilled flavor. The meat was thoroughly cooked, but not to the point of drying up. It still retained a certain juicy warm meatiness that was nice and chewy rather than tender or mushy (as a medium burger might have been).

Hamburg Innards

Hamburg Innards

The curry went really well with everything. Not too thick, not too thin, just right. It definitely had authentic Japanese flavor, a giant step up from Teriyaki Boy. The only problem I had with the curry was its quantity; there was only enough to cover the meat. I wish there was more to mix in with the rice…

The tamago was cold, eggy, and sweet. It was also pretty delicious although the coldness implied lack of freshness. The cute, warm octopus sausage was just extremely fun to eat.

Overall, I was impressed by the authenticity of Japanese food from a truck. I mean Ton-Ton was still quite Americanized compared to places like Hiroko’s, but it definitely tops most other Japanese fast food joints, and it’s a nice break from the awful attempt at Asian food in Handschumacher (Drexel’s cafeteria).

Grade: I feel tempted to give it an A, just because it’s the only good Japanese food place in campus for now, but I think A- is a more realistic unbiased grade…

Conclusion: I found Japanese food! In a truck!! Yay!

Location: Map

33rd St & Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

3 comments on “Legit Japanese Food in a Cart!

  1. SHiNBo
    March 25, 2010

    This looks pretty good, I went to find this place the other day and couldn’t. Is it still open?


    • bubblepeachtea
      March 27, 2010

      Actually I heard that Keiko, the truck-owner moved back to Japan to start her own restaurant… Sad isn’t it? =(


  2. Pingback: Bad Soba at Koja « Munchi Monster

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